The digital era has redefined how we work, learn, play, and connect with loved ones. During the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, the need for self-isolation has meant that these activities needed to be done mostly online, which may have pushed some of us to overload on screen time.
How much is too much screen time?
This is a very difficult question, as it probably varies from one person to the other. Experts suggest that screen time may be taking too much space in your life when, for example:
- it replaces your other activities;
- it affects your relationships;
- it disturbs your sleep or;
- it affects your mood.
If you recognize yourself in these examples, it may be time to take a step back.
Tips to manage your screen time
Here are some tips to help you practise healthy digital distancing:
- Some apps can help you determine how much time you spend in front of a screen.
- Challenge yourself to cut down your total screen time gradually each day. Turn off your notifications so that you aren’t tempted to constantly reach for your phone.
- Plan screen-free time each day, when you can go for a walk, play a board game, do some gardening, or other activities you enjoy.
- When working in front of a screen, take short breaks regularly: put on a happy song and dance, work for five minutes on a puzzle or colouring book, or organize one cluttered cabinet.
- Instead of texting or videoconferencing, bring back the phone call.
- Speaking to friends and family can be even more mentally beneficial in times of isolation. Eat your meals screen free: you’ll enjoy your food and the company, while giving your eyes a rest.
- Ideally, ban digital screens from the bedroom, or for at least one hour before bedtime. Instead, adopt practices such as mindfulness and meditation.
Spending long hours in front of a screen can also take a toll on your eyes. To prevent screen fatigue, follow this simple 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away.
You’re not alone
While being able to connect with people and stay entertained can be a life saver when physical distancing, it’s important to find the right balance. Practising thoughtful digital distancing may be the best way to prevent screen overload! Don't hesitate to talk to your pharmacist if you have suffer from headaches and eye fatigue.